My empty nest!
We’re surrounded by anxious parents all queuing in their cars to get onto the university campus. Their cars including ours are stacked high with Ikea bags overflowing with kitchen utensils and quilts.
When we finally get inside our daughter’s face drops as she looks around her tiny room. I get to work making her bed and try my best to jolly her along, but nothing I say is doing the trick. The fish bath mat I bought for her doesn’t fit in the tiny bathroom so I discreetly put it next to her bed. Emma slumps on the bed and says. ‘I hate it, it’s too small’.
My husband laughs. ‘It’s only for sleeping and studying in. You’ll be fine.’
I put the plant on the side and smile at her. ‘Give it a few days and you’ll love it.’ Emma is not so sure and pulls an unhappy face like she’s a child.
My husband gives me a look of ‘Let’s go’ but I can’t. I sit on the bed and give her a cuddle, it makes no difference the fact she is twenty three years of age, to me she’s still my little girl. I get up and show Emma where the kitchen is but she’s not interested. After another half an hour my husband smiles and says. ‘Right let’s get going we’re going to hit all the traffic’. I give him one of my looks. We kiss Emma and head to the car, as I look back at the window I can see her sad little face in the window and I feel like I’ve abandoned her, she looks like a little lamb going to the slaughter.
I turn to my husband with tears in my eyes, ‘We can’t leave her, look at her little face’. He laughs out loud and says. ‘It will be the making of her.’
When we get home I ring her and she’s in floods of tears. I whisper to her. ‘Give it a couple of days and if you don’t like it I’ll come back for you.’
My husband hears me and shouts. ‘No you won’t it will be the making of her.’
The following day I walk around the house like a lost soul. I ring Emma but she doesn’t answer. That evening she rings home and she’s still upset. ‘Mum I hate it ‘I’ve got no friends and I can’t find my way around the campus. When she goes off the phone I sob.
The despair goes on for days and I wonder into her bedroom, sit on the bed and look at her photo and my husband doesn’t understand why.
Four days later when I ring her she’s full of fun and excitement and I think slightly inebriated too. ‘Sorry Mum can’t talk I’m going to the student bar with my friends. Another night she’s going to a party. I’ve lost her, I’m glad for her but I feel lonely. Is this what empty nest syndrome feels like?
Written by Carol Kearney
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